Publication Date



numismatist, coinage, propaganda


Classical numismatists have long assumed that Roman emperors used the imperial coinage as a medium of propaganda. The obverses advertised the emperor's visages and titles, while the frequently changed reverses announced military victories, peace and prosperity, imperial beneficence and building programs, or religious beliefs, etc. Often beautifully designed, stamped with a much higher and more vivid relief than modern coins, and spread throughout the empire, Roman coins and medallions certainly seem to have been minted and disseminated with the intention that the imperial populace would note the figures and read the inscriptions thereon – not merely exchange them in economic transactions. As Michael Grant has said, "Roman coinage ... was intended to be looked at, and was looked at."